4 Feb: Tapawera, Lake Rotaroa
We planned to make it to Tapawera, but the dirt roads, though hilly, were smooth and fast-moving. We descended into agricultural lands where the main crop appeared to be a favorite of ours: hops!
Arriving at Tapawera around lunch-time, we met another bike tourist enjoying a break in a park until his bursting tire broke the peaceful quiet. Tried to help for a bit, and he decided to try booting it.
Made it to a campground at Kowatiri Junction, but decided to keep going to Lake Rotaroa. We were bowled over by the stunning view of mountains surrounding the lake. This was to be our first introduction to sandflies, swarming, inescapable. We covered up and decided to spend the time before sleep circling the forested paths surrounding the campsite, evading the tiny predators.
This was our first encounter with the South Island Robin, a tiny bird, half head, whose fearless curiosity brought it startlingly close on several occasions throughout the trip.